As a hockey fan and Wild season ticket holder since year two, I offer my sincere thanks to Jacques Lemaire, someone who, in making the Minnesota Wild always respectable, made the most of what he had every night:
"Jacques is a tremendous tactician,'' Nanne said. "He's extremely perceptive in evaluating a player. He's a great judge of a guy's strength or weakness. That allows him to use each player in the situations where he has the best chance to succeed.
"He doesn't motivate by getting you fired up. He motivates by instilling confidence in his players that, if they do what he tells them to do, they are going to win.''
Lemaire's genius was most on display in the spring of 2003, when he took a young star in Marian Gaborik and basically a ragtag collection of veterans to the Western Conference finals.
I, too, am surprised that, upon Jacques Lemaire's departure, I'd lean on the observations of Patrick Reusse when it came to a hockey item (would you read Cosmo for car reviews?) but, in this case, he's got the story straight.